Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre will be the crew chief for Camping World West Series driver David Mayhew tonight when the sixth annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown kicks off with qualifying at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif.
The 250-lap feature will be held on Saturday night.
The Speed Channel will televise both nights of racing.
This is the first time it has been held in January as it had been a fall race previously.
Mayhew finished eighth in the Camping World West Series points last season with five top-five finishes, including two seconds, and eight top-10s in 13 races.
Mayhew finished 10th in the Showdown last year.
Santerre, the former four-time Camping World East Series champion, said he had no intention of attending the race until Mayhew bought one of his race cars off the Internet.
“He tested it and was real happy with it. He asked if we’d come out and help and said he was willing to pay us to come out,” said Santerre.
“I don’t know a lot about him but I’ve seen him drive and he’s a pretty good driver. I know the car pretty well. It’s a good car,” said Santerre. “If Dave’s good enough, he’s capable of taking it to Victory Lane.”
Thirteen drivers have already locked up spots based on being series champions or winning races in the Camping World East and West series. That includes Peyton Sellers, who finished eighth for ASM in the Camping World East series this past season.
But Mayhew will have to qualify.
Santerre and drivers representing his Andy Santerre Motorsports team have traditionally run well in the Showdown.
Sean Caisse sat on the pole in the last race and led the first 74 laps before being wrecked by a lapped car. Caisse had finished second in a backup car the previous year.
Santerre drove in the first three races: he was sixth in 2005, 28th in 2004 when the rear end on his car broke while he was leading and he was second in the inaugural race in 2003.
“It’s a fun place to race. You have a lot of three and four-wide racing,” said Santerre about the half-mile track. “A good-handling car wins every time. Things can happen pretty fast. You have a break at lap 100 and another at lap 200. The last half of the race can get rough because it isn’t a points race.”
Santerre and his two full-time employees are in California along with one of the two employees he had to lay off for economic reasons.
Santerre said he hopes to rehire the other two full-time employees “if we can land a second team” for the upcoming Camping World East series season.
Sixteen-year-old Brett Moffitt of Grimes, Iowa, will drive Santerre’s No. 44 Chevy Monte Carlo for at least six Camping World East series races.
Moffitt was the Rookie of the Year and finished second in points in the ASA Late Model North Division series last year and won five overall races.
Santerre will also serve as Moffitt’s crew chief.
“If he can come up with more money, we’ll do more races,” said Santerre, who is looking forward to working with Moffitt.
“He’s real quiet but he has proven he can drive. He does a good job. He’ll be fun to work with,” said Santerre.
Moffitt told the Hartford Courant, “This is the next step in my career so I’m really excited to get the opportunity to drive for someone like Andy Santerre. He is obviously well-respected in the series for the things he’s done as a car owner and driver. He’s won a lot so there’s no one better to learn from.”
After the Showdown, Santerre will look ahead to his fifth annual charity snowmobile ride on Saturday, Feb. 7. It will leave from the Caribou Motor Inn at 9 or 9:30 and riders can register between 8-9 a.m.